So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)
He Is Teacher, Lord, And Washer Of Feet
Robert Ingersoll said of Abraham Lincoln, “If you want to find out what a man is to the bottom, give him power. Any man can stand adversity — only a great man can stand prosperity.” The 19th-century British politician Lord Acton wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” One of the strongest points of temptation is the sin of pride. It exalts the heart to a corrupt mind of arrogance, conceit, self-importance, and egotism. Leaders especially are tempted to take too much power for themselves wielding a strong hand upon the citizens. They always fall in time. Death is the great equalizer. Throughout history, great men have had great power over vast stretches of land with millions oppressed by their rule. There has never been a king who has possessed power like Jesus Christ.
The power of the Son of God was unlimited. Jesus was divine and through the power of the Holy Spirit, exercised dominion over disease, time, distance, death, and showed His rule over the spirit world in casting out demons. There was nothing Jesus could not do. He acted under the will of His Father. At no time did He go beyond the authority given to Him as the Son of God. His final plea to the Father in the garden was for the will of God to be accomplished, not the will of the Son of God. The cross is the emblem of complete surrender to the power that was not His. He died for the sins of all men because that was the requirement for redemption established by the word of God.
On the night Jesus would be betrayed by one of His own, the Lord rose from the Passover supper, took a towel, and girded Himself. He then poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the twelve men who He called His apostles. When He finished washing their feet, Jesus began drying them with the towel he had around him. After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing?” The twelve were amazed by their teacher and master washing their feet. Peter at first rebuked the Lord because he could not see what Jesus was trying to teach him. Jesus was their Lord and He was their Teacher, names of reverence which disciples of the Hebrew teachers were accustomed to offer to their masters. There was no doubt about the rule of Jesus in their lives but what they needed to see was that although He was Master and Teacher, Jesus had come to serve. He was a washer of feet.
Leadership begins with servitude. Jesus was the Son of God. He had the power to command the wind and the waves. With only three words, He brought Lazarus from the tomb. Through the will of the Son of God, Jesus commanded the demons with all authority. Yet, in the dimmed upper room of a Passover feast, the Son of God bent down and in a great act of humility washed the feet of twelve men. Incredibly enough, Jesus washed the feet of the man who soon would leave and betray Him. What was Jesus thinking as He took the dirty feet of Judas, caressed his feet with a gentle hand, and washed all the dirt away? When Judas stood before the Jewish council and sold his Lord for thirty pieces of silver, did he look down and see his clean feet? The Master and Teacher who was Lord of Lord’s washed the feet of His disciples to show them what love meant and to leave an example for them to follow.
True godly character comes from those willing to wash feet. Jesus was their Teacher but he washed their feet. He was Lord and He washed their feet. The twelve did not know that in less than 24-hours, their Teacher and Lord would be nailed to a cross. When Jesus washed their feet He was showing them a pattern of sacrifice that would be forever highlighted by His death on the cross. Jesus is Master and Lord because of the cross and because twelve men had their feet washed by the Son of God. Thank you Jesus for washing my sins away.